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Georgia says Russian forces behind copter incident

Written by: Staff

TBILISI, Sep 3 (Reuters) Georgia accused Russian military commanders today of involvement in an attack by rebels in its breakaway South Ossetia region on a helicopter carrying the defence minister.

''This is yet another provocation out of the many already staged by the regime in Tskhinvali (South Ossetia's centre) and the military command of Russian peacekeepers deployed in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict,'' Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli said on Georgia's Rustavi-2 television.

Georgian Defence Minister Irakly Okruashvili said earlier that his helicopter had been shot at by ''the Ossetian bands'' and had been forced to make an emergency landing. Okruashvili said he and the others on board were safe.

Reuters AB GC2356

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